Who is he: Giorgos Papakonstantinou, or George Papaconstantinou, is a Greek economist and politician and the current Minister of Finance of Greece and he is affiliated with the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. As Minister of Finance, Papakonstantinou focused on fixing the current economic crisis, instead of dreaming up ways to make a new economy. Papakonstantinou has focused on the fight against corruption within Greece, driving the European Union towards someday being able to create future sustainable economies.
In a bid to eliminate Greece's large financial deficit, Papakonstantinou is privatizing state owned corporations and liberalizing the energy market. In addition, the government will be selling off state property to recoup their losses. Papakonstantinou is counting on the market prices the government will be able to place on their land to help accrue the needed Euros for their country to bail itself out of the hot water they have gotten themselves into. His economic reforms are not based on a single country concern, but rather the decisions are made on the European Union level.
Giorgos Papakonstantinou may be seen as a concerned citizen of the larger EU, but to his countrymen, he is more of a pawn than power player. Greece has been all but taken over by Eurocrats, not just in the financial sense but as regards its larger sociopolitical process as well. To the degree that Papakonstantinou facilitates this takeover, he is seen by many within Greece as a facilitator of Eurozone oppression. Papakonstantinou may win his political fight to impose austerity on the Greeks, but he will not be well-remembered in history for it.
Background: Giorgos Papakonstantinou was born on October 30, 1961 in Athens, Greece. He obtained his Bachelors of Science from the London School of Economics and a Masters of Arts in Economics from New York University. Papakonstantinou received a Ph.D in Economics from the London School of Economics. From 1988 to 1998, he worked at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development as a senior economist. When he returned to Greece in 1998, Papakonstantinou was appointed as an advisor to Costas Simitis, the Prime Minister at that time, on information society issues.
From 2000 to 2002, Papakonstantinou was appointed to the "Information Society" at the Ministry of Economy and Finance as the Special Secretary. Between 2002 and 2004, Papakonstantinou was a member of the Council of Economic advisors for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as well as a member of the board of the Hellenic Telecommunication Organization, and was the Greek representative to the EU's Economic Policy Committee. He was coordinator of the Lisbon Strategy for economic growth in 2003. In 2004, Papakonstantinou was elected to serve as economic advisor to the president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. This lasted until 2007. In addition to his other duties, from between 2003 and 2007, Papakonstantinou taught economics at the Athens University of Economics and Business, in the Department of Management Science and Technology. Papakonstantinou also participated in international research projects for the European commission in an effort to advise them on research and information society issues.
From 2005 to 2008, Giorgos Papakonstantinou was a board member for the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement's think tank. He was elected a member of the Panhellenic Socialist National Council in 2005. Two thousand and seven saw him as a member of Hellenic Parliament as a representative of the Kozani district. March 2008, he was appointed Press Spokesman of the Movement. Giorgos Papakonstantinou ran for, and succeeded in becoming, Member of the European Parliament in 2009, where he was appointed the Finance Minister.
News & Analysis
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|04/25/11||Eurocrats' Immovable Rigor Over Debt Restructuring|